Thinley Namgay  

The under (U)-19 national women’s cricket team landed in Malaysia yesterday to take part in the U-19 World Cup Qualifiers Asia.

Bhutan, Thailand, Hongkong, Nepal, Qatar, and host Malaysia, will compete in the tournament from June 3 to 9.

The new fixture is yet to be drawn as the United Arab Emirates and Myanmar have withdrawn from the tournament.

It is the maiden tournament for Bhutan in an International Cricket Council event in the U-19 category.

Bhutan is led by captain Ngawang Choden, who said it’s an opportunity to lead the team. “I don’t have much expectation. But we will give our best and try to win some matches.”

“We had a very challenging time in practice as most of the players are from different districts and most of them are from tennis ball backgrounds,” Ngawang Choden said, adding that the team didn’t get much time to practice due to the pandemic.

She said the team made the best use of the time they get and formed a competitive side.

In April, 14 players from Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue, and Sarpang were selected. The players are mostly 15 to 16 years old.

The U-19 girls practised at the Gelephu international cricket ground and also in their respective dzongkhags.

Bhutan Cricket’s Press Officer, Tandin Wangchuk, said the girls have a practice match on June 2. “ We hope to win a few matches.”

Only three players have played in the international tournament in the past.

In February 2012, Bhutan’s U-19 cricket team took part in the Asian Cricket Council’s U-19 Women’s Championship in Kuwait. Bhutan defeated Hongkong by 69 runs.